Premiering Wednesday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m.
Discover the origin story of American horses, which can be traced all the way back to the 50-million-year-old fossil beds of Polecat Bench, Wyoming. From these ancient beginnings, Equus spread around the globe, but mysteriously went extinct in North America. Arriving aboard ships of Spanish explorers, horses reclaimed the continent after a 10,000-year absence. With their return, the stage was set for a new generation of American breeds and a lifelong partnership with humans.
“Horses helped shape the landscape of our nation,” said Fred Kaufman, executive producer for Nature. “Their stories are a fascinating look at how their history and our history are inseparable.”
A combination of natural selection, selective breeding, and chance created the wide spectrum of more than 100 American horse breeds we know today. Emerging from regional patterns of work, culture, tradition and geography, these signature breeds each made their mark on the nation. Meet the Appaloosa, bred and revered by the Nez Perce tribe; the American Quarter Horse, perfectly trained to work the open range; the Morgan Horse, whose underdog story is legendary; and the wild Mustang, whose close bonds within their community shed insight into their relationships with humans. Witness vivid scenes of incredible horsepower, whether they are cutting cows in a sagebrush sea, galloping through autumn foliage in New England or racing across the Pony Express Trail.